Daily Reverie

It's just me…

Love And Friends. January 12, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Lauren @ 10:27 AM

“I have found the paradox that if I love until it hurts, then there is no hurt, but only more love.” Mother Teresa.

 

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about relationships the past few days. Perhaps, it’s has to with the harsh truth of having to have had a friend die and realizing how fragile life is. But I think it is deeper than that. The more I ponder the value of relationships, the more I realize that is my passion for life. To build sincere relationships with those around me.

There is a deep and moving importance in the building genuine relationships. I’m not talking about just the “fair weather” kind of friendship, where you pop in and out of someone’s life when something monumental happens with that person, and leaving when things become uncomfortable. I am talking about the kind of relationship where you willingly look outside of yourself every moment of everyday, even in the times where you would rather curl up in bed and pretend that the world outside is not there. The kind of relationship where the needs of the other is more important than your feelings.

I think that in our minds, as Americans, the word “relationship” is scary and we tend to stay away from using it. The only time in which we really use it, is when we are referring to romantic relationships. And being “in love.” But people are fickle, and even using the word “love” seems to lose it’s value, as we grow up and learn what it means to have our hearts hurt. Then we decide that the only relationships that are worth having are the ones that we can gain something from. We allow ourselves to become guarded and shy and unwilling to share the love that we are capable of.

Anthony Robbins once said “The quality of your life is the quality of your relationships. Some of the biggest challenges in relationships come from the fact that most people enter a relationship in order to get something: they’re trying to find someone who’s going to make them feel good. In reality, the only way a relationship will last is if you see your relationship as a place that you go to give, and not a place that you go to take.” So, the question is, what relationships do you have and what are you doing to intentionally build them up and make them better? Are you willing to allow yourself to open your heart and love others in a way that invites them in to see the beauty of life through the love that you show them?  Someone once said “”Love comes to those who still hope even though they’ve been disappointed, to those who still believe even though they’ve been betrayed, to those for whom love still heals, even though they’ve been hurt before.”

 

Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind.  “Pooh!” he whispered.  “Yes, Piglet?”  “Nothing,” said Piglet, taking Pooh’s paw.  “I just wanted to be sure of you.”  ~A.A. Milne

 

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From Dead Ends to New Doors December 6, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Lauren @ 8:47 AM
Tags: , , , ,

I’m sitting here, with my grandparents watching Julie and Julia. You know the movie about how Julia Child got her start, and Julia Powell-the once secretary, now famous blogger and writer? While it’s very entertaining, I find I am gleaning new inspiration from it.

Here’s why. I feel as though by some divinely placed inspiration from God or Fate, whatever it is that you choose to believe in, that my friend Daniel and I met each other at just the right time in both of our lives. I moved back to California in May, utterly frustrated with my life. Approaching the fourth year of college at my fourth college and about to turn twenty-one and feeling as though I had in someway hit a dead end, because everything that I had planned for my life, just wasn’t coming to fruition. I didn’t know what I wanted to do. Having met Daniel, via my mother (he’s the son of my mom’s boss), because I had decided I wanted to run a marathon, and he being a personal trainer.

I don’t think either of us were prepared for the adventure that we were going to embark on a couple months later. I had recently become very passionate about fighting Human Trafficking, especially in the U.S. So much so, that I decided to change me major AGAIN, to Criminal Justice with the goal of eventually joining the FBI. Daniel, having just changed his major to Government and having done his fair share of college hopping as well. The only thing we both knew was that we both have always wanted to make an impact…somehow. And that’s how it all started..in a way. Actually, to be more accurate, it started with someone telling me that I should run for a cause for my marathon. So, of course I chose to run for Human Trafficking. Through various random conversations, Daniel and I decided to start a foundation. A non-profit organization, to fight for social justice in Northern California to be more exact.

It’s crazy. WE are crazy. We are a 21 and 24 year old with absolutely NO freaking business experience, starting a non-profit organization. We are learning how to create business plans, write by laws, network. We are meeting with FBI agents and hopefully the mayor of  Sac and a bunch of other people that I never dreamed I would ever have the opportunity to meet. Our first endeavor is going to be using the marathon that  I am going to run in July. We are going to utilize that to raise money and promote awareness for Human Trafficking, and hopefully even work directly with the FBI and Sacramento PD to start the long, difficult process of putting an end to Human Trafficking in Sacramento.

As the movie “Julie and Julia” so eloquently states, “Julia Child, wasn’t always Julia Child.” She was once a house wife who had moved to Paris with her husband, and needed something to do. Daniel and I are just two college students who found inspiration and direction through our friendship to actually make the impact that we had both always wanted to make. We still have a long way to go, but it’s going to be an adventure.

 

Modern Day Slavery November 4, 2010

Filed under: Christian Life — Lauren @ 12:47 PM

“Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for

crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within

the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”

Amendment XIII – Slavery Abolished (1865)


All Americans (or most) should know that slavery was abolished in 1865. Meaning, that no one could forcibly exploit another person to carry out ANY deed for another person.And for the most part Americans are proud of the fact that we do not allow slavery in our country as it is looked down upon and seen as something that only happens in “other countries” or “third world countries. What most Americans are very, very ignorant of however, is that slavery does still exist in the U.S., in the form of Human Trafficking. Human trafficking is when a person is is forced through fraud, coercion, physical or psychological means to be cheaply and inhumanely forced into labor and/or sexual exploitation.

Human trafficking hides under the radar in our very own society. It hides behind dark, covered windows, barbed wired fences, and probably most shockingly some individuals in society that appear as though they have nothing to hide, yet unfairly force their “domestic servants” to do around the clock chores with no choice or means of anyway to escape. But most heart-breaking of all, this terrible crime hides behind the victims that we could very well see in our everyday lives. Outwardly, there is no way to distinguish the victims from you or I, or the coorporate business man walking down the street.  These people hide in plain site.

It seems rather ridiculous to me that more people are concerned and rather well educated about the efforts of PETA, than they are to the rising issue of Human Trafficking. Especially since ANYONE can become a victim of this heinous crime. Men and women. Your brother, sister, mother, daughter, best friend or next door neighbor. Anyone.

Human Trafficking is the fastest growing criminal enterprise in the world. It has been estimated that around 27 million people world wide are trapped in slavery at the moment, 13 million of those people are children. It’s thought that approximately 20,000 individuals are trafficked INTO the  U.S. every year. This estimate does not include the average 14,500-17,500  individuals that are trafficked IN American cities yearly. (I thought we abolished slavery?? Anyone else besides me becoming concerned about this issue???) Not to mention that ATLEAST 30% of Human Trafficking victims have some form of encounter with a healthcare professional DURING the time that they are being exploited and none of these people are recognized as a victim Human Trafficking by that healthcare provider. That means, that out of the 1 million children that are a part of the commercial human “trading system” world-wide that 300,000 of them see doctors. 300,000 children that see doctors with medical training, that SHOULD be able to recognize what is happening.  244,000 of these children are in the U.S. Again, I say, PROBLEM.

California has many laws in effect that are supposed to help combat human trafficking, but since it continues to remain under the radar (or maybe it’s just that we are choosing to be ignorant of what is really happening), California is one of the worst states in the union as far as Human Trafficking is concerned. Most of the cities that have been associated with this crime are Los Angeles, San Diego, San Fransisco, San Jose, and perhaps the most shocking of all Sacramento (which has recently been ranked the 2nd worst city in America for the exploitation of innocent victims of trafficking). There is something around thirty-two KNOWN trafficking rings in California. It’s thought that last year women comprised 74% of victims, children, 16% and men 10%.

Here’s the deal. NO ONE wants or asks to be exploited. Frequently, traffickers will recruit people through what seems like real and legitimate job ads such as being a hostess, domestics or various kinds of work in agriculture.

There are warning signs of companies that are involved in trafficking:

-Very strict security at the commercial establishment including barred windows, locked doors, isolated location, electronic surveillance. Women are never seen leaving the premises unless escorted.

-Labor trafficking, victims are often prohibited from leaving the work site, which may look like a guarded compound from the outside.

-Sex trafficking, the people being trafficked live no the same property as the brothel, strip clubs or other such establishments.

-Victims are escorted and kept a close eye on at the doctors, or hospitals.

Individuals that are being trafficked are controlled by any combination of  fear, intimidation, abuse, and psychological controls. Most are controlled through some form of abuse.

The harsh truth is that Human Trafficking is modern day slavery. And it can happen to anyone, from any race, background or gender.

“The problem of human trafficking has reached into neighborhoods through

out California and is one of the fastest growing criminal enterprises in the

world.  Individuals are bought, sold, transported and held in inhumane

conditions for use in prostitution or as forced laborers.  It would be morally

and socially irresponsible to ignore this problem and the victims it creates

in California every year.” Sally Lieber, California Assembly Member

September 21, 2005 – signing of AB 22


 

 

Thoughts…Random…Ramblings. October 24, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Lauren @ 10:05 PM

I haven’t written anything is awhile. To be completely honest, I always feel like a bit of a nerd when I update my blog. But I have a lot on my mind, so this is my attempt to straighten out the jumbled mass of incoherent thoughts taht are floating around in my head.

I’m in my fourth year of college. At my fourth college. And I just changed my major. I changed it from Psychology to Physical Therapy. Basically, I am starting over. Completely. Mostly. I have to take classes that are considered Gen Ed, again order to take the pre-reqs I need to take the core classes I need for a PTA degree.  This definitely is not what I expected my college career to be like. . but I feel confident about this new change of pace and direction that I have chosen. It’s a little overwhelming at times, but good.

It’s been a difficult transition moving home after not living at home for three years. And a huge shift from living a dorm life environment, to not. I was concerned at first that I would be so busy with work and school, that I wouldn’t have the time to make friends and have a “social life.” Especially since I can be on the shy side sometimes, it’s hard for me to go out there and make friends.

I’m becoming increasingly frustrated with the awkward dynamics that our society is creating between mens and women’s relationships. Women are being taught that we need to be strong and confident and to take charge, and yet the men are still not okay with it when we actually do just that.

I’m becoming more and more comfortable in being who I am. Which is awes ome. For a really long time, I was lost and confused and had no idea who I wanted to be, let alone how I wanted to get there. But I’m figuring it out. I’m learning it’s a process. Probably life long.

I’m training for a marathon.

 

A Humble Sort of Love… August 30, 2010

Filed under: Christian Life — Lauren @ 3:03 PM

I’ve never been the sort of person that looked for approval from others, but I had someone at work today, find out that I was a Christian and they said “Really?! You seem so nice and normal and non-judgmental. I’ve never met a Christian that I actually liked and wanted to be friends with.” I don’t show my faith off or try and preach to everyone I know. I just try and build relationships with those around me. In fact, I know a lot of Christians that don’t really agree with my way of thinking. Especially my whole, PEACE-LOVE-HAPPINESS- go-green-and-recycle-all-the-while-washing-my-hair-with-baking soda-and-vinegar and wearing peace symbols because I’m pretty much a hippie mind set. To that I have to say… Jesus would be green, and recycle. Deal with it.

Anyway…

This got me thinking. At first I thought “Well, maybe I’m not being a good enough Christian, if they think I’m “normal” and “cool.”‘ My second thought was “What kind of crappy Christians do you know?” And then I started thinking about Jesus. About the REAL Jesus of the Bible and how the non-Christians of His time liked Jesus. (Well…most of them). Because He was normal. In Isaiah 53, it says that Jesus had nothing about him that set him apart from other people. Or at least portrayed Himself as normal, and came down to the level of the people that He spent time with, and made them feel important as individuals. He built relationships with them, and loved them for who they were. Because He knew that each person was specially created.

Take the woman at the well for example. John 4:7-26
When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)

The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)

10Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

“Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his flocks and herds?”

Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”

He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”

“I have no husband,” she replied.

Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”

“Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”

Jesus declared, “Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”

The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”

Then Jesus declared, “I who speak to you am he.”

WOW! I can’t even imagine how this woman felt. The passage goes on to say that the disciples (who were continually questioning Jesus’ actions, and were probably embarrassed by him at times…), asked Jesus what he was doing with her. In today’s lingo, it probably would have sounded something like “Jesus, what the heck are you doing? We can’t be seen with her! She’s not as cool as us!”

This woman, who no one associated with, because she was a Samaritan and had a long past of sin, was being talked to by the Messiah! The savior. And he accepted her. All of her. The good, bad and the terribly ugly parts of who she was, with no question asked. He reached out to her when no one would. Even the people from her very own community. Back in the day, people would go to get water early in the morning or in the evening when it was cool. She went out in the middle of the day, when she knew no one else would be there because she didn’t want to be condemned.

That’s when Jesus chose to visit her. When no one else would even bother to look her way. THAT IS SO COOL. And I know the awesome feeling she must have felt, because Jesus found me, when everyone else had alienated me.

I want to be normal. I want to be a good person. I want to be a part of the world and not of it. I was to be different, so that people notice that I am not like everyone else. But I don’t want to condemn others, because in reality… I’m not better than the worst “sinner,” the cruelest murder, or the street walked standing on the corner right now.

. We ALL have sin…including me. The only difference is that I am forgiven, and I am forgiven because someone cared enough to reach out to me when I could have cared less about God. When I thought the idea of Jesus and being a Christian was the stupidest thing I had ever heard of. Someone showed me the same love that Jesus did to the Samaritan woman.

GOOD SONG —> My Jesus by Todd Agnew <—-

 

Short Story! (I wrote this several years ago).

Filed under: Uncategorized — Lauren @ 2:55 PM

“Two men look out from behind the same bars
One sees mud;
The other sees the stars”
~Fredericke Langbridge~
Jeff grasped the cool metal bars of his cell window, and shook them with a rage full of pain deeper than he ever knew. The sky outside his cold, dank cell was grey and the heaviness of the darkness intruded upon his soul. Light had once shown from blue his eyes, but that light was now gone, and left his eyes looking grey. The ground outside was muddy from the rain that had been falling since his arrival, and scattered trash from his fellow inmates littered the grounds.
He was here because of what he had done. He had been desperate.
“No one will get hurt.” His friend had assured him as they made their plans.
Their plans were simple. They would rob a gas station. Jeff, would hold the cashier at gunpoint, but with an unloaded gun, and his friend would put the money in the bag, and then they make a run for it. His friend, had told him to pretend like he was going to shoot the gun, even to pull to trigger, but it was all just for scare, because as he reminded Jeff, there would be no bullets in the gun.
Things quickly got out of hand. In the rush of adrenaline coursing through his veins, he did pretend to shoot the gun. But no one had remembered to check and see if the gun was loaded. And it was.
He shook the bars of his cell again. Shook them for his stupidity for not checking the gun, and for his ignorance for thinking he could actually get away with robbing the gas station, that led to that fateful moment where he killed someone. He let out a yell, that through which any person with feelings could hear his pain and guilt.
Looking outside, his eyes came to rest on the muddy ground. He looked at the mud, that no doubt had once been rich reddish dirt, but now lay sodden and grey. That was all he was now. Mud. Dirty, filthy, disgusting mud. He, like the mud, would be looked at in disgust for the rest of his life.
“…one man sees mud…”
******************************
Another man was in the cell with Jeff. This man was grey-haired and had a hint of compassion and kindness in his eyes. He had been here much, much longer than Jeff. He had watched Jeff shake the bars, and listen to him yell.
No words had been spoken between them since Jeff’s arrival a few days ago. No words needed exchanging. He knew how Jeff felt…in a way. He knew he wasn’t like the other prisoner’s who felt no remorse at the thought of why there were here, and that he felt guilt and sorrow for what he had done. Whatever it had been.
This difference was, this old man’s pain wasn’t from killing someone. This man was innocent. He suffered from the guilt of knowing that his family had been murdered, and that he was still alive. He suffered from the indescribable anger of being wrongly accused and sitting in this cell year after year when he was innocent.
He breathed in a deep breath. It had taken him years to come to terms with his guilt, anger and sorrow. He had talked to God, when he had a family. In fact, he had rather liked to think that he and God were friends. Then he ended up here. And he didn’t talk to God for many years. In that time, his heart had become like stone. Then one night, he too had shaken the bars angrily and yelled all his anger out for the world to hear. But God had been merciful, and shown His love. Through the bars of his window, he had seen the stars. Really seen them.
He realized that if God were really there, and had really created everything, and he knew all the stars in the sky, surely God knew what was to be done with him. He suddenly felt so small and helpless, and in the moment he fell to the floor in adoration of God.
“…and the other sees the stars…”
***************************************************************
The old man got up from his bed and cautiously walked over to Jeff. Jeff was staring out the window looking intently on the mud. He put his hand on Jeff’s shoulder. “You may think you’re mud, but God doesn’t”
“My people have been lost sheep; their sheppard’s have led them astray and caused them to roam on the mountains. They wandered over mountain and hill and forgot their resting place…Yet their redeemer is strong; the LORD Almighty is His name. He will vigorously defend their cause…” Jeremiah 50:6 & 34
 

Human Trafficking Awareness August 27, 2010

Filed under: Christian Life,Jesus — Lauren @ 4:17 AM
Tags: , , ,

I don’t know how many people ACTUALLY read my blog, so I don’t know how many people this blog will affect.

Human trafficking is a tragic thing that happens ALL over the world. Human trafficking is “an act of recruiting, transporting, transfering, harbouring or receiving a person through a use of force, coercion or other means, for the purpose of exploiting them.”

I used to think that it was something that only happened in other countries, far away and way out of reach for me to be able to do anything about it.  But that is simply not true. In America it happens everyday, and a lot of times in towns and cities that you wouldn’t think that it wouldn’t be happening in. There are at least two know human trafficking rings in Sacramento, one in Citrus Heights, and two in Eldorado Hills. And those are the ones that have been reported, and in just a very small area of Northern California.

It is thought that at the very minimum, on average 14,500-17,500 people are trafficked each year in America.

– 27 million people are trapped in modern-day slavery across the world.

– 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders every year.

– 1 million – Number of children exploited by the global commercial sex trade, every year.

– 50% – Percent of transnational victims who are children.

– 80% – Percent of transnational victims who are women and girls.

– 70% – Percent of female victims who are trafficked into the commercial sex industry.  This means that 30% of female victims are victims of forced labor.

– 244,000 – Number of American children and youth estimated to be at risk of child sexual exploitation

– 38,600 – Estimated number of an approximate 1.6 million runaway/thrownaway youth at risk of sexual endangerment or exploitation

Human trafficking can be a person being trafficked for labor, sex and anything in between.

One must wonder, how do people get involved in Human Trafficking. Well, first of all, NO ONE wants or asks to be exploited. Frequently, traffickers will recruit people through what seems like real and legitimate job ads such as being a hostess, domestics or various kinds of work in agriculture.

There are warning signs of companies that are involved in trafficking:

-Very strict security at the commercial establishment including barred windows, locked doors, isolated location, electronic surveillance. Women are never seen leaving the premises unless escorted.

-labor trafficking, victims are often prohibited from leaving the work site, which may look like a guarded compound from the outside.

-Sex trafficking, the people being trafficked live no the same property as the brothel, strip clubs or other such establishments.

-Victims are escorted and kept a close eye on at the doctors, or hospitals.

Individuals that are being trafficked are controlled by any combination of  fear, intimidation, abuse, and psychological controls. Most are controlled through some form of abuse.

The harsh truth is that Human Trafficking is modern day slavery. And it can happen to anyone, from any race, background or gender.

It IS very real, and it IS happening around, and SOMETHING needs to be done to stop it. Some very simple things that you can do, is to become aware of what stores around you sell fair trade goods. Meaning, that they are not produced by victims of human trafficking. http://www.transfairusa.org/content/WhereToBuy/

Start becoming educated about human trafficking in your area and find out what you can do to help stop it. Whether it is just advocating awareness or becoming physically involved in groups that fight against it.

Courage to Be You is a local organization based of or Rocklin, Ca.

http://wrathcampaign.org/

http://slaverymap.org/

There are SO many different things that can be done to help put a stop to human trafficking, please don’t turn a blind eye to what is going on.